Cloud Storage: Don’t Pay for What You Don’t Use

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOne of the most compelling business cases for the cloud is that it’s billed as a utility – meaning you only pay for what you use.

So with cloud storage prices falling rapidly, there’s never been a better time to take advantage of cloud storage solutions.

The pay-per-use model allows companies to customize their cloud solution to meet their storage needs – and then adapt when necessary. If your company is small and has minimal data storage needs, you might only need, say, 8GB of space.

But as the company grows and expands, data storage needs can increase, and when that time comes, the cloud service can adapt quickly to the need for more space. The utility model is also great for businesses whose data storage needs may spike seasonally, or may need to increase in response to compliance and governance requirements.

Using a cloud computing solution for your data storage needs is also much cheaper than acquiring, storing and maintaining equipment, and paying for larger offices and personnel to house and manage a data center. Since cloud computing doesn’t require you to purchase and maintain hardware, there are fewer expenses associated with the upkeep and maintenance of servers, networking equipment and storage, as well as applications and software programs. With an always-available customer service team and IT consultants at the ready to help with any issue, you’re also freed from the need to keep on-site IT services and constant training.

How can you make sure you’re getting a fair deal? It’s not just about which provider is the cheapest, says Jo Maitland, Executive Editor at SearchCloudComputing.

Determining the total pricing for a cloud service involves understanding not just the physical storage space you’re buying, but also taking into consideration the services and support a provider offers. And, it’s important to know how charges for these services are calculated, Maitland said.

“To determine total pricing for a cloud service, users need to understand the individual service elements that a provider bills for and how those charges are calculated. Is the service just a hosted, dedicated server that runs your applications? Or is the service a cloud-based backup or disaster recovery solution? Maitland also advises asking any potential provider whether they “for example, bill based on traffic, storage space needed, server CPU time or a combination of these factors along with other elements?”

“The majority of cloud service providers break down their services into three primary areas: servers in the cloud, storage in the cloud, and sites and applications in the cloud,” Maitland said. “Each is governed by its own formula for pricing, and prices are affected by length of commitment, total bandwidth needs or total size of storage required. And as with other cloud services, there is plenty of room for negotiation.”

Maitland strongly suggests getting all pricing estimates in writing, and making sure that there is “clear, concise language that explains what the total charges will be per contracted period: Written confirmation is the only way to see an apples-to-apples comparison of pricing models and determine true budget amounts,” Maitland said.

The flexible cost model afforded by cloud computing allows companies to cut costs while being more scalable to grow or contract as an organization evolves. And, with lower cost of ownership, there’s no reason your organization shouldn’t consider making the switch.

About the author: Sharon Florentine is a freelance writer who covers everything from data center technology to holistic veterinary care and occasionally blogs for Rackspace Hosting

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